Texas is struggling through a drought. It wasn’t surprising, then, when the unfamiliar sounds of a thunderstorm woke me up on Sunday morning. I looked at the clock and smiled when I saw that it was only 5:45am. I still had a good hour of sleep left.
What did surprise me was the shrieking I heard fifteen minutes later. I heard Sam screaming from somewhere else in the house and I was immediately out of bed. Within half a second, I was aware that our burglar alarm was also howling. I grabbed the golf club I keep by the bed for situations just like this one. The dread I felt in my stomach was outmatched by all of the adrenaline surging through me.
George and I ran towards the screaming and found Sam in the hall, screaming, “What’s happening?” My dog and I ran through the house, looking for any signs of a smashed window or an open door. Nothing. I kicked open the closed door in our guest bedroom and raised the golf club, ready to mess somebody up. Nothing.
Confident that no one had broken into the house, I breathed a deep sigh of relief. Or, at least as much of a sigh of relief as someone can breathe when a burglar alarm is howling at 6:03am.
Sam and I regrouped in the front hallway and stared at the burglar alarm. “What do we do?” we shrugged at each other. The alarm system came with the house and it wasn’t connected to any monitoring system. We typed in typical codes (1111, 1234, etc.) I called the alarm company number listed on our unit (and got stuck in a phone tree). Sam googled the company and found out that they weren’t even in business anymore.
Do you know how loud a burglar alarm is?
I went into the garage and tried to see if the alarm was attached to any particular breaker. It wasn’t. I called my dad. He said the same thing happened to them once, and they had to go into the attic to cut the cord to the alarm.
I climbed into the attic, flashlight and golf club in hand. Of course, the light bulb didn’t work. I made a quick sweep of the area surrounding my person with my club, just to scare off any furry woodland creatures who may have made a home up there. The place where the alarm was was covered by insulation. Of course it was.
I went back down and realized how badly I needed to use the restroom. It was, after all, 6:15am. That damn alarm was so loud that George just stayed in the garage, away from the speaker.
I stalked back into the front hallway and asked Sam, “Should I just cut the wire?” She said yes.
In a moment of Latin fury, I ripped the alarm unit off of the wall, threw it on the ground, and cut the cord. I then immediately swore, because that move made no sense. None.
I climbed back into the attic, ready to meet my fate with either electrocution or death by a rabid rock squirrel who had taken a wrong turn sometime in the mid 2000s.
The alarm, in an act of God so beautiful and merciful that I can’t even describe it in human language, stopped alarming. I went back downstairs to find Samantha on a ladder, with the speaker in her hand.
“Igot it!” she smiled, very proud of herself.
Let me pause and re-run through the events of 6am to 6:28am from Sam’s point of view.
Sam woke up in the guest bedroom to the sound of the alarm. She had fallen asleep in there because she couldn’t go to sleep the night before and had been reading. When she woke up, her Fort Worth roots kicked in. She assumed that somehow our non-monitored system was hooked up to the National Weather Service, and that a tornado was about to rip the roof off of our house and kill us all.
She ran into the hall screaming (and maybe 1/3 awake), to see George and I skidding into the hallway, bumping into each other and looking to defend her to the death. While I was scurrying around in the attic, she was furiously googling, like some kind of Southern belle computer wizard. At one point, she heard me ask if I should cut the alarm cord. Which is what I meant. But then she turned around to try a new code, only to see the unit broken into four pieces by her hulked out Latin husband.
I assume at this point, her hatred of being woken up early ignited some kind of super strength, so she carried our aluminum ladder through the house, ripped off the alarm, and dismantled it with a giant screwdriver. I can’t be sure because I was in the attic, covered in insulation and swatting at phantom rodents.
The moral of the story is that during the weekend, you should never wake up Sam early. She will end you.
[PS We got a new system in the house now so don't try to break in unless you want the federalis and an angry country girl on you.]